I love sandwiches. They take me back to lunch time as a kid where I ate my fair share of Turkey and Cheese, Grilled Cheese, and Peanut Butter and Jelly. And then I discovered the pressed sandwiches at Panera in high school. They felt so gourmet, so fancy with their crispy exteriors and melty interiors. Going to Panera was THE thing to do with your girlfriends when I was sixteen. We would each grab a sandwich, a cup of chai, and gossip the afternoon away like we had nowhere to be... because we actually had nowhere to be. And then I grew up and started eating sandwiches with things like sprouts, avocado, caramelized onions, butternut squash, kale pesto, and marinated tempeh. I still love simple sandwiches, especially when someone else makes them for me, but I also love sandwiches with a bit of drama to them.
This sandwich here is certainly dramatic. It looks like the California Sandwich- that iconic vegetarian sandwich loaded with tomatoes, avocado, sprouts, Monterey Jack, slathered with a tangy chive and parsley spread. But I replace the tomato with sweet and earthy roasted kabocha squash, aged cheddar subs in for the Monterery Jack, and I make a quick spread of thick Greek yogurt, Dijon mustard, and chives to replace the traditional mayo dressing.
I have to brag about my little sprouts for a moment because I sprouted them myself! I am a bit of a gardening novice and am always surprised when I can grown anything in my little beds, but sprouts are virtually foolproof! My Mom gifted me some mixed sprouting seeds from the local farmers' market at home in North Carolina, and after 4 days of rinsing and draining in a ventilated jar, I had these fresh, crunchy, bright little things! They have been delicious in grain bowls, but they are to-die-for on this sandwich. Of course you can buy the sprouts from the store, but if you are looking to feel like a proud parent, invest in some sprout seeds.
The kabocha squash is not as acidic as the tomato would be, but I find it makes a really comforting sandwich for this cooler weather and goes well with the aged cheddar. I serve it on a seedy multi-grain bread like the traditional California sandwich because I love its nuttiness and it holds up to all of the toppings, but go with whatever sturdy bread you have on hand.
Autumn California Sandwich
1 1/2 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt (I used 2%)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
2 green onions or a few chives, thinly sliced (mostly light green to dark green parts)
salt and pepper
1.5-2 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese, sliced (I used Cabot)
1/2 avocado, thinly sliced
4 slices of roasted kabocha squash*
1/2 cup alfalfa sprouts or other sprouts you like
1 garlic clove
2 slices multi-grain bread
In a small bowl, combine the Greek yogurt, Dijon mustard, lemon zest, and sliced green onions/ chives. Season with salt and pepper. Cut garlic clove in half and rub on one side of each bread slice. Spread yogurt mixture on top of each slice. Layer cheese on top of one side, then avocado, squash, and finally sprouts. Top with remaining slice of bread. Enjoy! Makes 1.
*Delicata squash or butternut would make a fine substitute. To roast squash, slice in 1/2" slices, toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil or coconut oil, and bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 25-30 minutes or until golden and tender.